06 August 2008

FRETILIN welcomes judicial review of budget law


Media release Dili, Timor-Leste, 6 August 2008

FRETILIN welcomes President's decision to await outcome of opposition parties' request for judicial review of 2008 revised budget

FRETILIN today said it welcomed President Ramos Horta's decision to wait until after the request by FRETILIN, KOTA/PPT and PUN to the Court of Appeal to undertake a constitutional review of key aspects of the revised budget of USD$425.6 million, which will see this year's original annual budget increased to more than USD$773.3 million, before he would move to promulgate it into law.

President Ramos Horta's decision to await the outcome of the court's constitutional review of aspects of the revised budget was announced yesterday (Tuesday 5 August) on Timor-Leste's state owned television.

FRETILIN parliamentary leader Aniceto Guterres said, "The President's decision is a wise and prudent one, expressing caution and concern over the legality of a number of aspects of the revised budget proposed by the Gusmao de facto Government.

"During the course of the last few months, and in particular during the parliamentary debate for this revised budget (16-31 July), FRETILIN, civil society, international donors and multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and IMF have questioned the need for such a large increase in the budget.

"In particular questions were raised in relation to the transparency and legality of this budget, the capacity to spend it and also as to why such a large amount of the budget was allocated to goods and services as opposed to capital development."

"Despite strong and widespread public opposition, the Gusmao de facto Government refused to listen to the people's concerns and rammed the revised budget through National Parliament with very few amendments."

"We welcome the President's decision because it not only reflects concern amongst FRETILIN, but also civil society groups and the broader public in Timor-Leste."

For more information, please contact: Nilva Guimaraes +670 7340389 (Dili, Timor-Leste)

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